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Full text of "Figure-skating : with seventy-four illustrations and diagrams / by George H. Browne."

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— BY — 









Copyright, 1892. 


Boston, Mass. 


The Four Edges. 

Late one winter I watched with joy the unexpected closing-in 
of a piece of open water left by ice-cutters in a shallow part of 
a pond near Boston. Early in the morning, before the sun 
should soften the ice, I was on hand with my skates. 

Yes, the ice would bear ! I surrendered myself to the delicious 
swing of the figure requiring the least effort — the cross-roll 

The bright sun was at my back, and my shadow flitted across 
the yellow sand beneath my feet. It was only the white marks 

^* €>n„ t d5* i 





^ r uf <C> *4\* 

my skates made on the transparent ice that made evident to the 
eyes the existence of any medium between me and my shadow ; 
and never since that delightful morning have I skated that fig- 
ure without a sensation as nearly like that of flying as I expect 
ever to feel. 

Does it ever occur to a schoolboy that he wastes more time 
on the ice ten times over than is necessary for the achievement 
of countless movements and sensations, such as are to be enjoyed 
in no other sport, any one of which is ample compensation for 
all the practice required ? 

One of the most attractive things about figure-skating is that 
when once learned it becomes an accomplishment for all one's 
life — a fascinating inducement to moderate exercise long after 
other outdoor amusements have lost their attractions. 


I shall mark as the one sure sign of the approach of old age 
the time when my blood ceases to tingle at the sight of new 
black ice, and when I let some other " young fellow" try it 
before me. 

It is a mistaken notion that figure-skating requires excep- 
tionally strong ankles. Suppleness is a more essential quality, 
and suppleness may be cultivated or acquired. I have found 
that an exercise quite sufficient to develop both the strength 
and the suppleness of the ankles is to stand before dressing in 
the morning with the heels together; then, raising one slightly 
from the floor and using it as a centre, to describe rapidly with 
the foot, over and over again, as large a 
segment of a circle as I can (Fig. i). 

It is also good practice to stand just as 
long as the muscles will allow on the yflr^-vW [\ rai 
bare feet, with the heels close together, ^ — 'A.I rr^rfi! 

and pushed as far forward as possible 
(Fig. 2), the calves touching; or to walk 
toeing out and toeing in as far as may be, 
remembering in all the exercises to keep 
the leg as straight as possible. 

It is a wise precaution to get one's H 

skates ready early in the season, and the f 

repetition of the above exercises in the 

house with the skates on before the ice comes will not only 
strengthen the ankles, but save much preliminary practice on 
fundamental figures. These should be done as represented in 
Figs. 3 and 4. Fig. 5 is the Spread Kagle. 

Let me say a preliminary word about shoes. 

During early practice the kind of skate is not of so much 
importance as the kind of shoe. Straps should be avoided 
because they stop the circulation, impede the free movement or 
the foot, and diminish the skater's self-reliance. The shoe, 
therefore, should be a snugly fitting, laced Balmoral or Blucher, 
and should be laced more tightly for skating than for walking. 


Always carry an extra lacing. A cotton pad under the 
tongue, or even an extra pair of stockings, may sometimes 
render a loose shoe serviceable. 

Leg boots, Congress and button boots are useless for figure- 

A skate shorter than the shoe is better than one longer ; a 
thick blade is better than a thin one ; and the skate should^be 

fastened so that the blade wiM come a trifle inside the middle of 
the sole. 

We shall assume that our young figure-skater has learned 
plain skating and the lap-foot circle. He has observed that his 
progress on skates is made in two ways : first, by thrusting with 
one foot and sliding on the other (Fig. 6), and second, by cross- 
ing one foot over the other, and sliding on each in turn (Figs. 7, 
8) — both ways in curved lines 
and on the edge of his skate. 

Skating can be done on the i' : . ^^\ ^~ f\ 

flat of the skate, too (Fig. q). # l,f \ / \l 

. It F^-7 \ It Fi«-8 ifr 

but it requires great nicety of U R0F . j 5 "••«■-« 

balance, for it allows neither \ 1 V / 

thrust nor edge. Where, then, ^^ — «?/■ \o— s^ 

does the motive power come 

from? Observe that it must come entirely from the momentum 
imparted by the swing of the upper part of the body. Now the 
combination of this momentum of the body with an edge instead 
of the flat of the skate, without thrust, is the proper motive 
power of most of the movements in figure-skating. 


The throwing of the weight upon the skate-edge causes an 
immediate increase of speed in a curve, and forces the skater at 
the same time to incline his body inward, as in turning a corner 
on a bicycle, in order to keep his balance. The tendency of a 
moving body to continue in a straight line is painfully familiar 
to every boy who has jumped from a rapidly moving vehicle, 
or has played ' ' tail-ender " in a game of ' ' Snap the Whip. • ' 

The "bite" of the skate-edge in the ice, like the line of 
hands in " Snap the Whip," tends to pull the body toward the 
centre ; the momentum of the moving body tends to throw it 
away from the centre. Many a fall must be suffered by the 
young figure-skater before he 
learns so to adjust his body 
that its momentum or rotation 
will let his skates go where 
he wants them to. 

The inexperienced skater, 
intent solely upon the use of 
his feet, tries to make them 
do all the work — and with 
sorry results. When a dis 
couraged skater was once 

asked why he had given up skating, he replied, with consid- 
erable humor, that it was "too sedentary an occupation for 

Three-quarters of all correct figure-skating is done with the 
shoulders. The proper position of the body, however, is not 
only the hardest to learn, but the hardest to describe. The 
diagrams necessarily lay undue stress upon the feet, but the 
figures — drawn from instantaneous photographs — may help to 
suggest the idea of continuous motion in the proper pose. 

The true principle of progression in figure-skating is devel- 
oped in the following movement, which should be studied 
closely on the ice, for it is the shortest cut to the correct edgeo, 
and the basis of all the "Grape-vines." 

r,j 11 


The Two=Foot Serpentine. 

Stand with the skates about a foot apart. With a forward 
twist of the right hip, throw the weight of the body upon the 
right foot, as in walking, but stiffen the muscles of the leg, and 
keep the left foot on the ice parallel with the right. At the 
same time intensify the tendency of the inside edge to make a 
curve to the left by an effort of the right foot in that direction, 
mostly at the heel. 

>^XD ^ 

Now let the whole body glide naturally 
in the direction in which the feet are going, 
and at the same time tilt the shoulders 
slightly back, as you do in walking when the free foot is going 
forward. After gliding a short distance, throw the weight, 
with a forward twist of the left hip, upon the left foot, and at 
the same time cut a deep inside edge curve near the heel, keep- 
ing the right foot upon the ice parallel to the left. 

Repeat the movement, with a see-saw of the body, hinging at 
the ankles. The result will be a slow, forward progression in a 
double serpentine line (Fig. 10). 

Now, deepen the lobes of the serpentine by sliding longer 
before shifting the weight (Fig. ii). Just at the time when the 



Ti$. 13 

inside edges are catching power, the other edge is becoming the 
flat of the skate. Slide still longer, until the lobes intersect; 
the flat will turn to outside edge, and you will be describing 
both inside and outside edges at once (Fig. 12). 


If now, just as the right inside edge is catching power (Fig. 
13), the left shoulder is drawn back, and the left foot thereby 
swung off from the ice around behind the right, toes well out, 
and pointing down — lo! the inside edge on one foot is an 
accomplished fact (Fig. 14). 

If, just after catching power with the right foot, the weight 
is shifted to the left leg, and the right foot is swung off from 
the ice by a backward twist of the left shoulder, the outside 
edge on one foot is an accomplished fact (Fig. 15). 

Fig. 17. % 

r$ 18 

Fig. 16 

Fig 19 

If the serpentine line is broken in a similar way on the 
opposite lobes, the same edges will be described on the other 

Now try the serpentine backward. The body swings will be 
similar to the forward swings, but the power will be caught by 
the inside edge near the toe instead of near the heel. The 
transition from curves on both feet to curves on one foot is 
easier backward than forward, because the inclination of the 
body necessary to maintain equilibrium is forward, not back- 
ward, and a skater has less fear of falling forward on his hands 
than backward on his head. 



Start as before, but instead of keeping your feet parallel, 
cross them in alternating inside and outside curves. (Note the 
edges, Fig. 16.) It will be easier to begin with the right foot 
leading, inside edge, the left following closely across its track, 
outside edge. 

The insertion of half-turns (threes) into this "chain-step" 
makes a grape-vine. Now try it backward, but instead of cross- 
ing the feet, let the right follow in the track of the left. When 
you have acquired perfect balance in this fine example of pro- 
gression by momentum and edge, you will be able to skate the 
serpentine to place in the form of the Canadian Eight (Figs. 
17, 18). 

Before reaching that stage, how- 
ever, you may find this "tracking " 
serpentine useful in perfecting your 
outer edge backward on one foot. 
By throwing the inner edge foot out 
of line, you may be encouraged to 
trust your whole weight upon the 
outer edge foot (Fig. 19), and finally 
to lift the other foot clear of the ice. 

These four edge-curves, outer for- 
ward and backward, inner forward 
and backward, are the rudiments of 
figure-skating, and you must practise them until you can cut 
complete circles equally well on each foot. 

Preserve the diagrams in this paper and in the following 
papers, and you will have interesting matter for study on tho 
ice for many seasons. 

The Rolls. 

In skating the four edges described in the last paper, the 
position of the swinging foot is most important, especially when 
the curves are skated continuously, first on one foot and then 
on the other. If impetus is gained by an obvious push-off, the 
combined figures are only variations of plain skating ; but if a 


^ 21 



regular swing of the body, combined with an edge, successfully 
produces continuous progression without apparent thrust, the 
result is a true roll, whether in large curves or small. 

Easy, unstudied grace is the most essential attribute of a roll, 
as of all figure-skating ; but nothing can be more ungraceful 
than a spasmodic kick or strong thrust with one foot, which is 
then lifted high in the air 
or curled up behind with 
the leg bent at the knee. 

The unemployed foot 
should swing naturally, 
almost as if it were a weight 
suspended from the hip by 
a string (Fig. 24). 

Its movements will de- 
pend much upon the height 
and weight of the skater, 
and the speed with which 
he is going. No one posi- 
tion, therefore, can be pre- 
scribed for all skaters alike, 
as the " proper attitude." 
The foot should be guided 
less by conscious muscular 
effort in the leg itself than 
by the movements of the 
shoulders ; and the more those movements contribute to keeping 
it near the ice, the more they contribute to graceful skating. 

For example, it is easy to do 

The Inside Edge Roll, 

with body full-front, and the unemployed leg out a-straddle, 
ready to be used as a prop in case of loss of balance (Figs. 20, 
21); but effort should be made with the shoulders to pull the 
unemployed foot close to the employed one (Figs. 14, 22). 




When this roll is skated in an "eight," especially in a double- 
circle "eight," the swing of the unemployed foot into place 
may be utilized to increase the momentum necessary to com- 
plete the circles (Fig. 23), either forward or backward. 

The Outside Edge Roll 

is the first " fancy " skating that a young skater thinks he can 
do. But generally his roll differs from plain skating only in 
that the glide is longer and more on the outside edge. The 
motive power is still the same — a more or less labored kick-off 
at the end of each glide. 

In a true roll, skated gracefully as a field figure, the unem- 
ployed foot should swing free, and there should be no apparent 
thrust after the first 
stroke which establishes 
the momentum, thus 
(Fig. 25): 

Stand with the weight 
on the right foot, flat or 
inside edge ; step upon 
the left foot, inside edge, 
as in walking, and with 
an exaggeration of the forward swing of the body, launch your 
weight upon the right foot, outside edge. Stiffen the ankle, but 
bend the knee a trifle. Then turn the toes out more, straighten 
the knee, and throw the shoulders back, the right shoulder a 
little the lower (Fig. 24). 

This motion of the body will have a tendency to shorten the 
curve, accelerate the speed, and throw the unemployed foot, 
which has been describing a circle close to the ice, forward and 
up in order to keep you from going over backward. 

Now swing your body forward and launch the weight upon 
the left foot, which, by the forward tilt, has been pulled down 
and back, and swung, toes in, parallel to the right, just in the 
nick of time to receive it. 




Unless you are very short and light, the momentum of the 
body is quite sufficient, without any apparent thrust from the 
right foot, to carry you round on the left outside edge until 
you straighten the knee, throw the shoulders back, the left a 
little the lower, catch more power with a strong edge, toes out, 
and preserve your equilibrium by a forward and upward move- 
ment of the right foot, which in turn is swung back, toes in, 
parallel to the left just in time to receive the forward lurch of 
the body again, — and perpetual motion seems almost estab- 

The above is an exaggerated statement of 
nearly all the movements. When you have 
got the knack of the swing, the knee must 
be stiffened at the beginning of the curve, 
and the upward movement of the unem- 
ployed foot reduced to a minimum by the 
pose of the shoulders. 

Each glide finishes with a little piece of 
inside edge, and great effort must be made to 
conceal any thrust that may come from it. 

This roll is skated only as a field figure ; 
the corresponding backward roll is usually 
skated as a cross roll, which may be done 
both forward and backward, in field and to 
place as eights, single and double circle. 

Cross Roll Forward. 

It may be of service in this and the previous roll to revert to 
our practice step (Fig. 3). Leaning, if necessary, on the sup- 
port of a friendly hand, walk several steps with the toes turned 
in — exaggerating the ordinary see-saw of the body. By and by, 
as the body lurches forward, slide on the right foot (Fig. 27), 
and by twisting, or screwing, the shoulders from left to right, 
swing the left foot around and across the right, so that with the 



next forward lurch of the body it shall fall naturally into place, 
toes in, ready to receive the weight and take up the glide. 

The shift of the weight lifts up the right foot, which, by 
twisting, or unscrewing, the shoulders from right to left, you 
swing around and across the left in the same way as before. 

The turning in of the toes compels an outside edge in full 
half-circle (Fig. 26). Avoid thrusting with the toe of the rear 
skate as it leaves the ice. Do not shift the weight with a jump, 
especially in the 

Cross Roll Backward. 

Begin by walking several steps, 
as above, but backward and with 
the toes turned out (Fig. 4). 
Slide as before, but with a back- 
ward lurch of the body upon the 
right outside edge (Fig. 28). 
Twist the shoulders from right 
to left, and thus swing the left 
foot gradually around. A slight 
forward tilt of the body toward 
the end of the stroke will pull 
it behind the right, so that with 
the next backward lurch of the 

body it will be in place, parallel to the right, toes out, ready 
to receive the weight and take up the backward glide. 

The shift of the weight lifts up the right foot, which, by 
twisting the shoulders from left to right, you swing around 
behind the left in the same manner ; and one of the most grace- 
ful figures on the ice is under way (Fig. 29). 

The spark of life that shall animate all these dull descrip- 
tions into living motion, the young skater must supply himself. 
That spark of life is knack. Until you hit upon the knack all 
by yourself, this last figure especially will seem discouragingly 

F, 5 26 





You must, for instance, gain confidence to throw your 
weight boldly upon the back outside edge, mostly at the heel. 
Nothing will give you that confidence but success. Success, 
however, comes "all of a sudden," some day. 

The long practice and the many bumps have, after all, been 
accomplishing something; the swinging foot at last goes back 
just at the right time and in just the right direction ; and the 
rotary motion does not carry your centre of gravity beyond the 
support of the employed leg, because the edge is just right and 
the support is just where it ought to be : you can hardly believe 
the agreeable sensation real. 

Can you do it again ? ^ 

You almost dread to try. 
Although your hips are sore 
and stiff, you venture. Yes, 
better than the time before ! 
But you can't tell just how 
you do it, even now. You 
only wonder that you ever 
could not do it. 

You let yourself fall 
upon the edge with perfect 
confidence that you will 

swing up all right; and you do. You can't miss it now if you 
try. At last the figure skates itself, and you, too, can "fly." 

Change of Direction. 

I. On both feet. So far, in our figures, progression has been 
either all forward or all backward. We now come to an impor- 
tant element in figure-skating, — the change of direction. 

By progression is meant the general line of movement of the 
whole body (long arrow); by direction, the position of the skate 
in relation to that line. For example : the progression of the 
body in Fig. 30 is in a general serpentine line from a to b ; if at 
c } when nearly all the weight is on the left inner edge, the 




body is given a half-turn by the rotation of the shoulders, the 
direction of the skates is thereby changed from forward to back- 
ward. (Short arrows point with the face ; dotted arrows show 
the direction of rotation. The cutting edge of a skate is shaded 
in the diagrams.) 

When this turn, a "Three" on both feet, has been practised 
until it can be done equally well from forward to backward and 
from backward to forward, with rotation of the body from right 
to left and from left to right, the essential elements of the 

Fig 30 

grape-vine have been attained. The knack of moving the feet 
in the right order and time is now the one thing needful. The 
grape-vines are the prettiest of the two-foot figures, but at first 
the learner will have difficulty either in keeping up his move- 
ment forward, or in preventing his perverse skates from trip- 
ping him up. 

Fi.g. 51 

Let us try the Single Grape-vine (Fig. 31). Get up speed 
with a chain serpentine, right foot leading, and insert a turn 
from forward to backward. The secret of success is in the tem- 
porary awkward position of the feet at a, heels together (prac- 
tice step, Fig. 4), the right just after turning, the left just 
before. Now while the right foot catches power with a strong 
edge near the toe (aided by a backward twist of the right shoul- 
der), the left, receiving most of the weight of the body, acts as 
a pivot, turns slowly backward, and follows the right in a cross 
serpentine line.- The right, now changed to outer backward 



''g 3 5* 

(o. b.)> slows up, and allows the left, while changing to inner 
backward (1. b.)> to pass it. (f. indicates ' 'forward"). 

Then comes the more difficult turn, from backward to for- 
ward. The right foot turns first, and the secret of success is in 
the temporary awkward position of the feet at b, toes in (prac- 
tice step, Fig. 3). Aided by a for- 
ward thrust of the right shoulder, 
the right foot catches power near 
the heel ; and the left, receiving 
most of the weight, acts as a pivot, 
turns slowly forward, and follows 
the right as at the start. If the 
left foot precedes the right, the 
progression will be from left to 
right, instead of from right to left. 
When this grape-vine is perfected, 
it may be skated more easily and 
gracefully all on the outside edge. 

The key situations, however, remain the same: at b, toes 
in, where the motive power is gained by pushing the feet to- 
gether forward (Fig. 32); and at a, toes out, where the motive 
power is gained by pulling the feet together backward (Fig. 
33). The latter position is exaggerated in the picture, because 
it was taken while the skater was performing the "Scissors," 
which consists in repeating the grape-vine between the outer 
points over the same tracks (Fig. 34). 

If the serpentine glide is reduced to a minimum, and the 
figure compressed mostly into the 

turns, the grape-vine becomes v/ ka \/j \sj k/j k/j^^^m 
the "Rail-fence" (Fig. .35).' The \j!\jf\jPh 
Germans spread this figure a vv Pv vy (*0 vy ?*y/^S 
little, and call it "Knitting." F 'S 35 

A " Double " Grapevine is different from a '■' Single " in that 
the body makes a whole revolution instead of a half-turn. Start 
as in the single grape-vine. When the right foot is turning 



from o. . . to i. b. (Fig. 36, a), the left, making a long change of 
edge to 1. P., is on the flat ; instead of turning on a pivot to o. b., 
as in the ''Single," it keeps on in a forward circle, while the 
right, sustaining most of the weight, is catching power by a 
hard bite, 1. b. ; the right now slows up until the lsft completes 
the circle ; then, turning at b, follows the left in a cross serpen- 

% 3 a 

F'3 57 

tine line. Then the left, after a change of edge and turn at c, 
sustaining the weight, catches power by a hard bite, 1. b., and 
the right describes a circle between the points, c, d, of the double 
turn of the left. If the tendency to travel on the ice is resisted 
while the slow foot is making its turns, the other foot will 
describe the circle around the points (Fig. 37). 

F.-g 3 9 

F'S 3 8 
D ft * B i (Ct A 

Grapevine »t<rrrS,, 

(Not MecessarvN 

In my skating, when the circle is inside, the turning foot 
supplies most of the motive power ; when the circle is outside, 
the circling foot supplies most of the motive power. 

If, when Fig. 36 is skated slowly, the left foot, instead of 
continuing in a circle, lags until the right has got to its second 
turn, then suddenly flips around forward on the heel as pivot, 
and while the right foot is turning, sweeps rapidly around in 



front of it on the inner edge forward, the double grape-vine will 
be made with three points up (Fig. 38). 

This flip of the foot is the distinguishing feature of the 
" Philadelphia Twist," but being o. b. is much harder. The 
figure leaves four points up, and is generally skated backward ; 
a strong forward start, however, may be made from a single 
grape-vine. After one turn, when the feet are crossed at a 
(Fig. 39), outsides together, left leading, flip the right around 
at right angles with the left, and by a violent twist of the 
shoulders (Fig. 40) screw the body around until the right foot 
gets to b; this position unlocks the left, which 
turns at c ; another half-turn at d, b brings 
the body around one revolution, and the same 
movements are repealed on the other foot. 
The flipped foot must not scrape the ice. 

If at the first grape-vine turn (Fig. 41) 
the left is turned first, and the right swung 
around parallel with it by a complete revolu- 
tion of the body, the points c, d will be inside 
a, b. If the turns c, a are made with the legs 
widespread, the curve a, b will intersect c, d, 
and the result will be the " Scissors Grape- 
vine." Fig. 41, made with the right outer 
forward turning first at c, instead of at a, and « 
the left inner forward at a, instead of at c] is the " Pennsylvania 
Grape-vine." Make continuous figures by repeating Fig. 41, 
points down, the other foot turning first. 

2. From one foot to the other. These changes of direction 
do not make graceful figures, but they are indispensable practice 
steps in the systematic acquisition of the art of figure-skating. 
There are four of each kind, because they may each be begun 
on each of the four edges. The forward " Mohawk " (Fig. 42) 
starts with the right outer forward ; during the curve the left 
shoulder is drawn far back, the toes of the left foot are turned 
out as far as possible, and the left foot is placed, outer 

•F.3 4-0 



backward, on the ice behind the right, which is immediately 
taken up. 

The forward "Cross Mohawk" (Fig. 43) starts on the same 
edge, but the left shoulder is thrown forward instead of back- 
ward, the toes of the left foot are turned in, and put down, 

outer backward, in front of 
the right outer forward ; 
not, perhaps, without a 
slight jump. 

The forward "Choctaw" 
(Fig. 44) starts like the for- 
ward "Mohawk," but the 
left is put down on the in- 
side edge. The forward 
"Cross Choctaw" (Fig. 45) 
starts like the " Cross Mo- 
hawk," but the left inner 
backward is put down in 
front of the right outer for- 
ward ; not without a slight 


Fig. 32. The Single GrapeVine. 



3. On one foot. The turns on one foot, corresponding in 
pose of body and mark on the ice to each of the four last fig- 
ures, are, respectively, ''Brackets " and " Threes " (with change 
of edge), and "Counters" and "Rockers" (without change of 
edge). The mark, of course, is continuous, the cross, or gap, 
being supplanted by a curvilinear angle. 

F-g 4-1 


Take the position of Fig. 42, with the unemployed leg as far 
back as possible. When the curve has carried the right foot so 
far that it must turn on account of the sidewise position of the 
body, instead of putting down the left foot, lift the right heel 
just clear of the ice, so as not to trip, and continue on the same 
foot, inner backward, reducing as much as possible the rotation 
set up by the turn by striving to face the same way all the time. 
This one-foot turn is the forward " Bracket " (Fig. 46). 

e»' «.9* 

The secret of the " Three" and of the " Rocking Turn," as 
well as of the " Bracket," is that the body must turn the skate, 
not the skate the body. Take the position of Fig. 43; increase 
the screwing rotation, which has a tendency to shorten the 
curve (Fig. 47 ), so that in the proper position (Fig. 48) the natural 
momentum of the body makes a turn without any effort of the 
foot. As soon as the three is made, the right foot should take a 



stiff iuner edge backward on the heel and the left shoulder 
should be brought back, in order to counteract the rotation set 
up by the turn. 

A forward "Counter Rocking Turn" is begun on the same 
edge as the forward "Three," but the rotation of the body is 
just the opposite (Fig. 49). 

Rg. 4 8 

When the curve approaches the turn, the balance throws the 
unemployed foot across and up («, Fig. 50), and it is brought 
down and back immediately after the turn with a swing that 
helps maintain the edge (Fig. 51). 

The forward " Rocker" also begins like the forward "Three," 
but the rotation, which is right 
for the turn but wrong for the 
second curve, must be reduced 
as much as possible. 

When the first curve ap- 
proaches the turn, the left 
shoulder and unemployed foot 
are thrown violently around 
forward (a, Fig. 52); at the 
same time the heel of the right 
is lifted, and the body turned 
almost a half-revolution on the 

toe ; the left shoulder is then as violently drawn back, and the 
swing of the left foot helps the right catch and keep a strong 
outside edge backward. 

The easiest way to skate the " Rocker " is fast and straight; 
the " Counter," slowly and with deep curves. 

Beware of introducing a little change of edge at the turn. 
The essential thing to remember is, that the rotation necessary 

tfg 49 



to make the second curve must begin, or be in mind, with the 
beginning of the first curve : the most accomplished expert 
cannot begin a three and change to a counter, or vice versa. 
Compare Figs. 48 and 49. 

These turns are the most graceful movements made on the 

ice, and from no others do skaters get more delicious sensations. 
I have had space to describe only one of the four of each kind, 
but they should all be practised with the first curve begun on 
each of the four edges. When perfected, they may all be skated 
to place in eights, like the plain two-foot eights. Fig. 53 is a 
** Double-Three Bight." 

Change of Edge, on One Foot. 

An enthusiastic learner is neither afraid 
nor ashamed of a fall. He knows by ex- 
perience that confidence and knack are 
acquired most quickly by bold, venture- 
some strokes, and, like a good foot-ball 
player, he soon learns how to fall. 

When, however, he has learned not 
only the proper movement of the shoulders 
and of the unemployed foot, but also the 
change of edge on one foot, he need never, 
barring accident, fall at all ; for the change 
of edge on one foot restores his balance, 

and gives him new momentum just at the time when he needs it 
to save himself. This change of edge is the connecting curve 
of all the combined one-foot figures ; it is not only one of the 
most graceful, but also the most useful of all the strokes. 

* F '3 51 



The principle is the simple one with which we started— a 
natural shift of body-balance combined with a change of skate- 

For example, start on the R. i. F. (Fig. 54) ; the inclination of 
the bod^ naturally causes the left foot to fall away from the 
perpendicular ; not only let it go, but throw it out sidewise with 
considerable effort — a movement which intensifies the edge, and 
thereby increases the momentum. 

>7'$ 52 

A - 

Now stiffen the ankle and knee of the right leg, turn the toes 
out, and incline the body over the outside edge. This move- 
ment naturally pulls the left back toward the perpendicular. 
Put it down in front of the right, but not across ; at the same 
moment lift the right and throw it out sidewise, thereby intensi- 
fying the left inside edge. The shift of balance again to the 

Fig 54 

outside-edge position will pull the right back, in readiness to 
be put down in front of the left, and with the simultaneous lift 
and jerk of the left, the forward "Change of Edge " roll is 
established (Fig. 54). You may skate it, beginning on either 
foot, either edge, forward or backward. 

If the feet are crossed, the strange effect may be produced 
of forward progression with backward movements, and back- 
ward progression with forward movements (Fig. 55). 

In the "Reverse on to Richmond" (Fig. 56) the forward foot 
is swung across and around behind the other, but the changes of 



edge carry you forward; in the "On to Richmond" (Fig. 57) the 
rear foot is swung around and across in front of the other, but 
the changes of edge carry you backzvard. The latter movement 
is suggestive of a tread-mill, except that, although appearing to 
walk forward, you actually go backward. 

If the line of Fig. 54 is made continuous, the figure becomes 
the "One-foot Serpentine" when the lobes are small, the con- 
tinuous "Change of Edge" when the lobes are large. In the for- 
mer the key to success is in stiffening the knee and turning the 
toes of the employed foot well out, just as the unemployed is 
swung from its extreme sidewise 
position rapidly down behind the 
employed (a, Figs. 58, 59). 

If the movements are simulta- 
neous, th© right will take a strong 
outside edge of sufficient motive 
power to carry the curve to b, where 
an inside edge and less vigorous jerk 
of the unemployed foot perpetuates 
the curve. 

The rapid action of the unem- 
ployed foot is much more at right 
angles* to the line of progression than at first appears from 
the diagram ; for it must be borne in mind that the unemployed 
foot progresses along with the employed, and that even if it 
went out exactly at right angles to the employed, at the same 
rate of speed, its resultant line would be at an angle of 45 to 
the line of progression of the employed. 

In the continuous "Change of Edge" proper, the swing of 
the unemployed foot is more complicated. After the outward 
jerk of the left foot that intensifies the right inside edge, it is 



swung back into position for the inside glide that lengthens the 
lobe ; when, therefore, the right is about to take the outside 
edge, the left is behind (compare Fig. 74); it is accordingly 
brought up alongside, thrust violently out forward, and then 
swung back into position for the outside glide. 


There is an "unscrew" twist of the shoulders from the begin- 
ning of the inside edge, and a ' 'screw" twist at the beginning of 
the outside edge. (Reversed, if skated backward. Fig. 73.) 

If the skater has difficulty in getting momentum enough to 
keep up the serpentine, he may take advantage of the rotation 
that bothers him to insert a turn and 
then continue. This makes the " Double 
Change of Edge" (Fig. 60), or "Ara- 
besque," sometimes called the "Four 
Edges," half forward and half backward 
(Fig. 61. 

Before he can accomplish this, how- 
ever, in even one of its four ways, the 
young skater will find ample material for 
practice in the single changes and turns. 
A change of edge and a three, English 
skaters call a Q (Fig. 62). a three and a 

change of edge, a reverse Q (Fig. 63). There are, of course, 
four kinds of each for each foot. A reverse Q and a Q make 
the "Spectacles" *(Fig. 64). Two double threes joined by a 
change of edge make the "Double Shamrock" (Fig. 65). 

Single, double, and chain threes, joined by single, double, or 
continuous change of edge, skated on alternate feet at random 
over the ice, furnish restful and graceful pastime to the accom- 



plished skater, and when the edge is firm and the rotation 
rapid, attractive entertainment to admiring spectators. Such 
"aimless skating" surely is more satisfactory than knocking a 
block about with a hockey stick, or playing tag, or the" thou- 
sand and one ways in which boys and girls waste their time on 
the ice. 

The fundamental principle 
which have formed the subject 
of these papers — the edge, the 
roll, the change of direction 
(turn), and the change of edge 
(on one foot) — are truly funda- 
mental; either singly or in combination, they are "at the bot- 
tom" of every figure that can be skated. 

I have described only a few of the combinations ; an active 
boy or girl can find fascinating occupation for many minutes, 
that are usually frittered away, in perfecting these few and in 
devising new combinations. 

F'& 6 2 

The selection of figures has been described in 
an order which seemed to lend itself best to the 
systematic development of the principles ; the 
figures are not necessarily to be learned in just the order in 
which they stand. I have described only one direction, gen- 
erally on only one foot ; beware of becoming, in consequence, 
only a right-footed, or only a forward, skater. 

Study the proper pose and movement of the shoulders and 
of the unemployed foot, rather than the mark on the ice. It is 
true that the correct mark can be made only with the correct 



position of the body — but one may know the mark and be un- 
able for years to skate it. 

I think I was five seasons learning the counter-rocking turn. 
I knew exactly what mark it ought to make, but I was stupidly 
intent upon the mark. I did not begin the rotation for the sec- 


ond curve soon enough, and I used to start the unemployed 
foot around before turning, instead of just at the turn or imme- 
diately after. As soon as my mind was concentrated upon my 
body instead of upon my feet, the feet went all right. 

Of course, unless you are exactly of the same size and weight 

as I„ your unemployed foot may not take exactly the course of 
mine, as indicated by the dotted lines in the diagrams. 

At all events, acquire firm edges and steady control of your 
skates, and cultivate grace in all your movements. Then you 
may undertake the following figures, which, on account of their 

lack of grace, or their difficulty, or both, should not be at- 
tempted too soon by an undeveloped skater. 

"Loops" may be developed from threes in two ways. Start 
on R. o. F. to make a single three; intensify the rotation by 
bending the knee a trifle, and by extending the head and shoul- 
ders somewhat in front of the employed foot ; keep the unem- 
ployed farther back than for the three. When the gliding foot 


2 9 

pauses momentarily just at the turn, screw the shoulders and 
the unemployed foot around with an effort that shall greatly 
increase the ordinary rotation for a three, and, if you are suc- 
cessful, the skate, after a little hitch, will continue across its 
own track in an oval curve (Fig. 66). By exaggerating the 
hitch and arresting the rotation with a backward glide of the 
skate, and then surging forward on the same edge when the 
unemployed foot comes around, you can make a " Cross-cut, " 
or "Anvil" (Fig. 67). 

Or you may start with a double 
three and reduce the middle curve 
to something like Fig. 68. By reduc- 
ing it still further, the other two 
curves will intersect, and you will 
make the cross-cut (Fig. 67), which 
the Germans call the "American 
Loop. ' ' By reducing the hitch entire- 
ly away to a continuous curve (both 
here and above) you will have what 
we Americans call the "Loop" 
(Fig. 69). 

These loops and cross-cuts (four kinds each) may be skated 
on alternate feet, both in field and to place as eights, or may be 
introduced, in combination with turns and change of edge, into 
an infinite variety of field and place figures. 

The single loop and single cross-cut are not graceful ; but in 
combination a rotation is set up that relieves the awkward pos- 
ture of the body and swing of the unemployed foot, and they 
produce a brilliant effect. 

In Fig. 70 the unemployed foot in its most awkward posi- 
tion is acting as a balancing pole during the hitch-back of the 
employed foot, which will immediately turn forward on the 
curve completing the fourth cross-cut of the " Maltese Cross." 
Fig. 71 is a "Reverse Maltese Cross," with the cross-cuts 



When you can make the lobes of your continuous change of 
edge, on one foot, perfect circles, you are near the accomplish- 
ment of one of the most difficult figures skated. Before you 
acquire accurate balance, however, the figure will travel, be- 
cause one change of edge will be stronger than the other (Fig. 

72) ; but, after diligent practice, you may skate it to place as an 
eight, single and double circle, forward and backward (Figs. 

73, 74). 

By inserting in these eights brackets, threes, rocking-turns, 
loop's, and cross-cuts, single and in combination, you may pro- 
vide yourself with a series of difficult figures that many years 
of practice will not exhaust. 


There remain only the spins, whirls, and ringlets ; locomo- 
tives and spread-eagles ; toe and heel movements ; pig's ears 
and scrolls; partnership or club figures, and specialties — but 
these must be reserved until another time. The most fascinat- 
ing thing about figure-skating is that there is always something 
more to learn. 

Again, figure-skating not only does not debar its devotee 
from any of the exhilarating advantages of straight-away skat- 
ing, but also has many other advantages of its own. Figure- 
skating is eminently social. Like cycling, it does not discrim- 
inate in sex — the girls have as good a chance as the boys, if they 


will only take it. The enthusiast, on the other hand, may in- 
dulge in it quite by himself. 

Unlike foot-ball, base-ball, and tennis, it does not need a 
"team" to make sport possible, or a contest to make it success- 
ful. Figure-skating exercises nearly every muscle in the body, 
but it does not put the muscles to so severe a strain as speed- 
skating or polo, and, consequently, is much better adapted to 
the strength of girls. 

It is the very poetry of motion ; the sensations of some of 
the turns are alone ample compensation for all the time spent 
in the acquisition of them. 

Figure-skating is not without its moral value, also. It 
teaches its lover, especially in fickle New Kngland winters, to 
make the best of every opportunity ; for its worst enemies are 



snow and thaw, and the laws of motion. The discipline of 
learning to counteract, or rather to conform to, those laws, is a 
discipline in training the powers of observation, perseverance, 
and will, as rigorous as the strictest philosopher can enforce. 

Each new figure thus acquired is a pledge of power to acquire 
or invent more; Jor in the art of figure-skating, as in life, the 
variety is manifold and the possibilities are limitless.